Two tugboats sink on St. Lawrence River as waterway’s woes continue

Two tugboats sink on St. Lawrence River as waterway’s woes continue

Montreal: Two tugboats capsized and sank close to each other on the St. Lawrence River on Monday, according to local media reports. They are the latest in a recent flurry of adverse incidents on the waterway.

In the first case, the crew were able to safely escape the vessel, Lac Manitoba, which apparently ran into trouble when it became pinned against a huge barge in a strong current in the late afternoon. This occurred near Cornwall in Ontario.

Then reports emerged of another tug, name as yet not known, going down some five hours later in the same vicinity.

Witnesses said the Lac Manitoba was helping manoeuvre a barge that was carrying a large crane to demolish the high-level Seaway International Bridge. When things went wrong smoke was coming out of the tugboat. Other boats went to its aid and, as they arrived, the tug’s crew jumped overboard to be picked up.

People said diesel fuel and debris were visible in the water.

Cornwall Community Police said crews from both tugs were safe although one person from the second boat was taken to hospital with a non-serious injury.

The incidents are the latest to hit the Saint Lawrence Seaway in a matter of days. On Thursday some 30 people were injured when the cruise ship Saint Laurent struck a wall in the Eisenhower Lock in Massena, New York, suspending navigation for 42 hours.

Then on Sunday, the 30,000 DWT bulk carrier MV Tundra ran hard aground near Lancaster, Ontario. That vessel was still aground as of Monday evening.

Donal Scully

With 28 years experience writing and editing for newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong, Donal is now based in California from where he covers the Americas for Splash as well as ensuring the site is loaded through the Western Hemisphere timezone.

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